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The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given a nod for the expansion of Gopalpur port project in Orissa.

"We received a communication from the Ministry in this regard," of the Gopalpur Port Limited (GPL) Executive Director PK Panigrahi said.

The port, about 170 km from here, is a seasonal port operational from November to March and handles cargo, including iron ore, coal and fertiliser ranging from half a million tonnes to 0.7 million tones, reports IANS.

"The Ministry has granted the permission to make it an all-weather port," Panigrahi said, adding that the construction for the expansion of the project will start within a month and complete within 24 months.

The company has planned to invest Rs 1,250 crore initially. The port will have an installed capacity of handling at least 12 million tonnes cargo by 2013 and aims to increase the capacity to handle 54-60 million tonnes per annum by 2022, the official said.

Initially, the port has planned to receive vessel size of one lakh DWT (Deadweight tonnage) and after enhancement of the capacity it will be able to receive vessel size of 130,000 DWT, he said.